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Opponents still fighting Flathead Lake water bottling plant - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Opponents still fighting Flathead Lake water bottling plant

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KALISPELL - Attorney's for the Montana Artesian Water Company says they can be ready to begin distributing their bottled water very soon.

The announcement comes after the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation upheld a decision to grant the company to open a controversial water-bottling plant in the Flathead Valley.

"The line that's been [there] and the equipment that has been out there on site is ready to be assembled [and] by the middle of February that line should be fully assembled and be ready to go into production, so I would think within the next 30 to 60 days he should have product ready to market and sell," consultant Darryl James said.

The company has been working for more than two years to get state approval for the plant which would draw water underneath a slough area along the Flathead River near Creston.

The company wants to be able to pull the equivalent of more than a billion bottles of water using wells tapping into the groundwater every year.

The DNRC announced its findings in the case on Friday, saying it would uphold the decision to grant Montana Artesian its permit, citing the company was able to prove that the operation won’t degrade area water quality.

Opponents of the plant say they now plan to take their case to court.

"The position the DNRC [has] finally taken has been disappointing for sure, but it wasn't unexpected," said Water for Flathead's Future vice chair Steve Harvey. "We always knew that they were going to try to stick to their previous thoughts on this and we always have known that we will be vindicated in District Court."

Opponents have 30 days to petition the courts to hear any appeal. Click here to view the DNRC ruling.

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